Illegal downloading and the inexorable move to single-track purchases saw sales of music in Ireland plummet by more than three times the global average last year, The Sunday Times reports.

Citing an international industry report, the newspaper says sales in Ireland fell by 26%. Record company revenues in Ireland fell to €53.2m, down from €71.8m in 2008 and almost 50% lower than the value in 2005.

“Fans are cherry-picking individual tracks on services like iTunes rather than buying the album,” said Alex Jacob of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

It would now appear we have gone full circle back to the heyday of the 45 single but in digital format. It seems it was ever thus – very few albums are worth listening to in their entirety.

Separately, the newspaper has a story on the plight of amateur music bloggers who will now be liable to pay a €150 plus VAT royalty for music on their sites.

The Irish Musical Rights Organisation (IMRO) introduced the fee last week but at least one up-and-coming musician was scathing, arguing the bloggers were the reason for his success.

“The royalty cheques I get from radio would just about pay for a McDonald’s Happy Meal,” said Declan de Barra, who issues his music independently of any big label. “But because of blogs I am now on my way to a sell-out show in the middle of France. It’s an idiotic, regressive, retrograde, Luddite way of thinking.”

Better news for the music industry in The Sunday Independent, where a ruling that ISPs can divulge the IP addresses of illegal downloaders could be worth €20m a year.

Judge Peter Charleton ruled that handing over such data is not a breach of data protection law.


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